Episode 2 gives us a solid opening for Black Bullet and it’s pretty catchy if you ask me. The animation in the opening has smooth transitions, lots of action and it sets the darker supernatural tone to the story.
Rentarou gets a call from Kisara to return to the main office. They arrive at the Tendo Civil Security Agency where a bunch of government officials sit around a giant table flanked by civil security agents and their Loli Initiators. We see a difference in values on the topic of Initiators, emerge in the plot pacing of episode 2. Rentarou almost gets into a fight with Ikuma Shogen of the Mikajima Royal Guard when Shogen refers to Enju as a mere tool. I’m pretty curious to see how other Initiators fight. At the start of the meeting, one agent is missing. Everyone is given an explanation of the next job by the Ruler of the Tokyo Area. The civil security agents are given two tasks. One is to cleanse the surrounding area affected by Gastrea in the previous day and the second is to recover a briefcase recently stolen by the Gastrea. Kisara is pretty sharp when she picks up on the fact that all top class civil security agents have been gathered in order to retrieve one mere briefcase.
The meeting is interrupted when the masked man who fought Rentarou in the first episode appears. His name is Kagetane Hiruko. He reveals quiet a bit that the government is keeping secret. For one thing, the briefcase contains something called the “Inheritance of the Seven Stars.” His Initiator is his daughter, Kohina Hiruko and they’re both pretty confident about getting to the briefcase before all the other civil security agents. Kagetane has special abilities that allow him to deflect Varenium bullets with a repulsion field as a result of translating parts of his organs with Varenium instruments. Kagetane also reveals the fact that he was formerly part of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Eastern Troop of the 787 Mechanization Special Unit part of the Humanity Creation Plan. Everyone is pretty shocked that this sort of anti-gastrea unit actually exists. Kagetane makes a pretty explosive exit leaving behind a lovely wrapped present on the desk… that contains the head of the agent originally missing at the start of the meeting. The leader of the Tokyo District warns the civil security agents that should the contents of the briefcase fall into the wrong hands, it could potentially destroy the Varenium monoliths that keep humanity protected.
Episode 2 dumps the entire plot conflict antagonism THING on us. Then it immediately throws a personal emotional development our way when Enju and Rentarou witness an initiator from the outer district steal into the inner city. When Rentaou decides to follow the corrupt police officers to retrieve the girl, he hears the girl shot by the men. Luckily, the girl survives. Rentarou brings her to the hospital and agrees to pay for her livelihood. What’s worse, after this, Rentarou is approached by Kagetane and Kohina. Enju and Kohina go head to head and they tie even on the first strike.
Later, Rentarou finds out that Enju’s been expelled from her elementary school because the other students discovered she was a Curse Child. Enju leaves Rentarou and returns to Enju’s home in the 39th districts to retrieve her. Although Rentarou arrives at the right place, Enju refuses to return with him and hides. Rentarou leaves without knowing she’s even present. A bit of Enju and Rentarou’s partnership and past resurface and the plot thickens quickly.
There is a lot of discrimination against the Cursed Children in the Tokyo District by the civilians. Rentarou meets up with his sensei (see episode 1) and she brings up the belief that some see the Gastrea as messengers from God sent to cleanse the earth, making the Cursed Children god’s servants. Rentarou gets pretty worked up when it comes to Enju. Enju and the other Cursed Children were all abandoned children in the outer district that just wander on their own.
On his way out, Rentarou gets a call from the school telling him that Enju’s returned to school. Enju claims to be human but the other children scorn her. At that moment, a helicopter appears at the school to pick up Rentarou and Enju. They spot the Gastrea in the forest and Enju sky dives from the helicopter down immediately into the fight. WE GET TO SEE ENJU IN ACTION. BADASS KICKS!! She breaks down before him, hoping that her fight against the Gastrea has protected her friends. This really sweet moment with Rentarou and Enju really got me. Rentarou reassures Enju that she’ll always be there for him even if others view her with disdain.
Just as Rentarou grabs the suitcase, Kagetane appears. He and Rentarou fight. Enju and Kohina square off. Kagetane is more brutal to Rentarou than I thought he’d be. Rentarou tells Enju to flee and she does. Kohina stabs with both blades and Rentarou seems on the verge of death but his resolve is still as strong as ever. Kagetane shoots him and he’s pushed off a cliff by the force of the bullet. When he awakens, he’s in the hospital with Kisara by his side. He conks out for a day and three hours. Kisara tells Rentarou that the case contains a catalyst capable of summoning a Stage Five Gastrea (oh shit). Normal Gastrea grow until stage four but a stage five gastrea is outside the evolution theory and have the power to destroy monoliths and withstand varenium.
But the cutest moment ever is when Kisara reveals that Enju’s been sleeping next to Rentarou since he got into the hospital. The leader of the Tokyo area asks Rentarou to join the mission against Kagetane. Sensei arrives and loads up Rentarou on his gear. DAMN this feels like the epic build up to a final battle already and we’re only at episode 3!!
Rentarou, Enju and the other Promoter-Initiator pairs arrive at the outer districts. When Rentarou and Enju encounter a stage 4, Enju actually PICKS UP Rentarou in their escape and with him on her shoulders, JUMPS OFF THE SIDE OF A CLIFF. WOW.
Later, they bump into Ikuma Shogen’s Initiator, Kayo Senju. It seems Kayo was separated from her Promoter in a Gastrea battle and between their conversation, Kayo grasps Rentarou’s attitude towards Enju and Kayo reminds us that not all Promoter-Initiator pairs are as close as Rentarou and Enju. It’s easy to forget that these fighters are really just little girls even though they’re so badass. Kayo is moved by Rentarou’s kindness. When Kayo gets word from Shogen on Kagetane’s whereabouts, Rentarou and Kayo accompany her. What’s interesting with Kayo is that because she’s categorized “Model” Dolphin Initiator, she’s quite clever and perhaps even philosophical at times. In the distance, she spots “The Stairway to heaven” a weapon of mass destruction, a symbol of the stolen generation’s hatred towards the Gastrea and ponders whether this generation’s attempt at revival is truly wholesome in intention.
I sense a lot of complexities in the Cursed Children-Gastrea-Stolen Generation dynamic within the plot. We’ve already seen social inequalities emerge in the society and the big mystery and overarching looming question is why the Gastrea exist and how they can to be. It’d help if we were given some history apocalyptic flashbacks but I’m sure these truths will be slowly revealed to us. it’s hard to believe that we’re only at episode 3 but I’m excited to see more of Black Bullet.
What are you pondering today?